CO: Public Lands Closed to shed antler collection Jan. 1

GUNNISON, Colo. — Winter is a stressful time for wildlife, a
time when they need peace and quiet. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is
reminding people who collect shed antlers that special regulations
in the Gunnison Basin restrict when antlers can be collected from
public lands.

It can be tough for animals to get through the winter. Deer and elk
can lose 30 percent or more of their body weight during the
cold-weather months and often struggle to find food.

“Animals are under a lot of stress during the winter; the less
energy they use unnecessarily the better their chance of surviving
the winter,” said J Wenum, area wildlife manager in Gunnison for
the agency. “We request that people not disturb big game on the
winter range.”

In the Gunnison Basin, where antler shed collecting is popular,
there are two regulations in place to prevent disturbance of
animals on public lands in big game management units 54, 55, 551,
66 and 67. Collection of shed antlers is prohibited on public lands
within those units from Jan. 1 through March 14. From March 15
through May 15, shed antler collection is prohibited from legal
sunset until 10 a.m.

Collecting of shed antlers for commercial use has grown during the
last decade. At this time of year human activity in winter range
can cause significant disturbance to deer, elk and the Gunnison
sage-grouse during the birds’ mating period in early spring.

“These regulations have been in place for several years now, so
collectors should know about them; no one can plead ignorance,”
Wenum said.

Violations will result in confiscation of antlers, a $70 fine and
five penalty points against the offender’s hunting and fishing
privileges. Harassing wildlife is also illegal under state statute
and can result in additional fines.

Collectors are advised to consult official sunset tables and to
obtain accurate maps of the areas. Anyone who has questions about
the regulations can contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife office
in Gunnison.

Collectors and other recreationists also should be aware that in
order to protect Gunnison sage-grouse leks the Bureau of Land
Management and Gunnison County have closed numerous roads
throughout the basin to motorized travel during the winter and
early spring. Gates are locked and a notice is posted at those
locations. Additionally, new travel management plans are being
implemented by the BLM and U.S. Forest Service. To learn about road
closures or to report road closure violations, call the BLM at
970-642-4940, the US Forest Service at 970-641-0471; or Gunnison
County at 970-641-8201.

Anyone who sees people collecting antlers during closure hours or
other wildlife violations is asked to call the Gunnison Parks and
Wildlife office at 970-641-7060.

To learn more about wildlife, go to:
http://wildlife.state.co.us.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:
http://wildlife.state.co.us.

 

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